SEO was once the ultimate buzzword; bandied around at every boardroom meeting and held as the holy grail of marketing. It’s a phrase that’s evolved over the years, although its fundamental meaning of optimising a website to get it ranked by Google has remained the same. These days, however, good SEO is synonymous with creating good content, because Google’s algorithm has become so sophisticated that it’s easily able to identify and penalise websites that still use outdated ‘tricks’ to give their websites an unfair advantage in the search results.
Here are 3 very old SEO tactics that nobody should be using anymore – read on and make sure your business hasn’t fallen behind the times!
1) Link buying
Link buying may have been very fashionable circa 2004, but nowadays having tens of thousands of dodgy links pointing at your site just waves a big red ‘spam’ flag to search engines – in fact, this has fallen so far out of favour it’s actually a weapon used by some companies to launch so-called ‘Negative SEO’ campaigns against their competitors!
Link building is still a valuable SEO tool, but only when it’s done using genuine associations created through real relationships or high quality content. If you want to build links, you don’t need to flash the cash – instead, use resources like blogging and social media to create helpful connections to your web content.
2) Keyword stuffing
Similar to link building, the old theory with keywords used to be pile them high and stuff them in, but Google’s too smart to fall for that nowadays. If your copy is jammed full of keywords (particularly in places that don’t even make sense!) it’s time to reconsider your strategy. Ask your copy team to rewrite the text and use relevant, useful keywords in a suitable context – this will prove much more effective than overusing them and annoying Google in the process.
3) Article spam
Back in the day, many companies bought into the premise of bulk-buying low-cost ‘spun’ articles and stuffing in as many article directories as possible to generate spurious content-led backlinks, but this approach simply doesn’t cut it anymore – in fact, in famous cases such as Interflora, it can even lead to demotion. If you’re producing articles or guest blogs for your company, make sure they’re high quality and genuinely useful for your reader.
For advice about how to be prioritised, rather than penalised, by Google, read our article ‘Copywriting for search engines in 2013’.